Sultan Mahmoud II was born in Istanbul in July 20, 1785. His father was Sultan Abdulhamid I and his mother was Naksidil Sultana.
Mahmoud came to the throne in 1808, in his twenty fourth year. While heir presumptive, he had been carefully instructed by Sultan Selim III in those measures of reform necessary to save the empire from dissolution. Mahmoud was qualified by an extraordinary energy. As an intellectual and intelligent young individual he followed closely the reforms in Europe. He especially, reformed the judicial system. He restored and modified many regulations.
He died from tuberculosis in July, 1 1839, at the age of 54. His funeral was so crowded, and he was buried in Divan Yolu.
His sons : Abdulmecid, Abdulaziz, four shahzadahs called Ahmed, Bayezid, Abdulhamit, Soliman, Mohamed, Murad, Nizameddin, Mehmed Abdullah, Othman. His Daughters: Emine Sultan, Hamide Sultan, Hayriye Sultan, Shah Sultan, Salihe Sultan, Ayse Sultan, Atike Sultan, Fatma Sultan, Munire Sultan, Fatma Sultan, Fihrimah Sultan, Adile Sultan.
OTTOMAN - RUSSO RELATIONS
When Mahmoud has ascended the Ottoman-Russian War was continuing. Due to the treaty signed with Britain in 1809, the war continued until French-Russian conflicts had been occurred.
In September 28, 1812 a peace treaty was signed between The Ottoman Empire and Russia in Bucharest. With this treaty Russia left Wallachia and Moldavia, they just took the region of Baserabia. Serbia became an autonomy. Bosnia and Wallachia were freed from taxes for two years. River Tuna was given both Russia and the Ottoman Empire and it was regarded as the border line of two countries.
The REVOLT of SERBIA
Serbia was invaded by Mehmet the conqueror, and the Serbs were pleasantly living as Ottoman subjects. Incitements of Russia and Austria, the decline of the Ottoman authority in the 17th century, ill-treatment of the Yeniceris (Ottoman Soldiers) and the nationalist movements following the French Revolution caused the Revolt of Serbia. The revolt was started in 1804 and led by George Petrowitsch (commonly known as Dark George). The Ottoman Army was in war with Russia and the revolt had continued until 1812. With the Treaty of Bucharest some rights were given to Serbs.
As the Serbs adhered to the ritual of the Greek Church, the sympathies of Russia favoured their national movement; and finally Serbia was constituted a sovereign state (1828-29 The Treaty of Edirne), electing its own prince and managing its internal affairs but acknowledging the supremacy of the sultan, and submitting its external relations to his control. The first prince was Milosch Obrenovitch, the successful leader of the second rebellion.
The NAVARINO EVENT
The southern part of European Turkey, comprehending the Morea and Greece in general, imitated the example of Serbia. Moreover, The French Revolution had an important influence on the Ottoman subjects. The Greeks received the sympathy of the whole Europe and Russia.
The Hellenic Revolution began, as revolutions often begin with a secret society. An association of Greeks, styling itself Hetaria Philike, or Society of Friends, had for some years existed in the dominions of Russia and Austria. Their aim was liberation of their country and the rebirth of the Byzantine Empire.
The first insurrectionary movement was made in the Danubian provinces in March, 1821, by Alexander Ipsalanti, a Greek military officer in the Russian service, but the attempt was speedily repressed.
The second rebellion was made in Morea, this was a long and sanguinary struggle. Mehmed Ali Pasha of Kavala had been promised to be the governor of the region and he was sent to the region to repress the riot. He sent an army and a powerful navy, commanded by his own son Ibrahim Pasha toward the Greeks and they had defeated the rebels. The withdrawal of the Greek liberation movement, depressed the European countries. Morea and the island of Kyrete were given to Mehmet Ali Pasha, this was out of Britain�s benefits, as Britain was planning to establish a puppet Greek State in that strategical region.
England, Russia and France made a treaty among themselves and decided to give liberation to Greece. Sultan Mahmoud rejected this and the Ottoman Navy anchored to the Navarino Harbour in Morea was burnt by them.
The TREATY of EDIRNE
After, the Ottoman Navy was burnt by the Event of Navarino Sultan Mahmoud II requested war compensation. Russia rejected this request and declared war against the Ottoman Empire. Meanwhile, Sultan Mahmoud had abolished Yeniceris (Ottoman Army) and established a new army called �Asakiri Mansuri Muhammediye�. This army was not ready to fight against the strong Russian Army, as its establishment has not been completed. Russia invaded Wallacia and Moldovia and marched through the River Tuna. In the west, they passed through the Balkans and reached Edirne, in the east, they came to Erzurum. By the inevitable, advance of the Russian Army, the Ottoman Government surrendered and a treaty was signed between two countries. According to this treaty, Greece had gained liberty, Wallachia, Moldovia and Serbia gained many privileges. Russia had left the regions, it had invaded. The Ottoman government gave permission to the Russian trading ships for their transits through the straits. Moreover, the Ottoman Government had accepted to pay Russia war compensation.
The REVOLT of MEHMED ALI PASHA CAVALLA
Another storm speedily gathered upon the Ottoman Empire excited by Mehmet Ali, the pasha of Egypt. He was born in Cavalla, the Ancient Neapolis, in Roumelia and he was commonly called as Mehmet Ali Pasha of Cavalla. This powerful vassal had held the government of that country through the entire reign, and had hitherto served the Sultan Mahmoud faithfully, rendering him important assistance during the contest with Greeks. His career was remarkable for its almost uniform success, till ambition brought him into collision with his liege lord and the European powers.
French invasion of Egypt led him to the scene of his future distinction. He volunteered to defend Egypt from Napoleon�s invasion and his successful defend led him to be the governor Pasha of the region. He abolished the Kolemen State in Egypt, he established a very powerful army and a navy by the assistance of French he reformed the Egyptian agriculture by opening water channels.
The Pasha, assisted Sultan Mahmoud in the revolt of Morea and he wanted to be the Governor of Morea and Kyrete. Although he repressed the revolt of Morea, he did not send his army during the Ottoman-Russian War. He requested to be the governor of Syria and due to the Sultan�s rejection of his request, he invaded Syria. He passed the Taurus Mountains and defeated the Ottoman Army in Konya and Adana (Mediterranean Region)
After these victories, it was nearly impossible to stop him through Istanbul. Sultan Mahmoud, asked for Russian co-operation, but, Britain and France with the panic of the possibility of an Ottoman-Russian agreement, convinced Mehmet Ali Pasha to sign an agreement with the Ottoman Government. This agreement was signed in Kutahya and Pasha was appointed to be the Governor of Morea, Kyrete and Syria. Beside, his son Ibrahim Pasha became the governor of Cidde and Adana.
A strong ruler in Egypt was out of Britain�s benefits as Mehmet Ali Pasha was hindering British Trade in the region. The British had decided to dismiss the Pasha and provoke Sultan Mahmoud against him. The Ottoman navy had attacted Pasha�s forces but they were defeated and the Ottoman Admiral (Kaptan-ı Derya) gave the navy to the Pasha (1839). By this domestic war, the Ottoman Navy was completely lost, the army was seriously injured. During these events, Sultan Mahmoud had passed away and his son Abdulmejid was crowned.
Sultan Mahmoud II was signed a agreement with Russia in 1833, as he co-ordinated with them during the revolt of Mehmet Ali Pasha; this agreement was called Hunkar Iskelesi Agreement (The Sultan�s Stairs);
1. Both the Ottoman Empire and Russia will co-ordinate each other in case of a war.
2. In danger of a war, Russia will sent army to the Ottoman Empire.
3. If an attack occurs against Russia, the Ottoman Empire will close the Straits and hinder an attack from the Straits.
4. This agreement will be valid for eight years.
As Sultan Mahmoud II was carefully instructed by Sultan Selim III, he was strongly influenced by him. Mahmoud was aware of the fact that the Ottoman Empire needed a widespread reformation. From the first years of his reign Mahmoud attended tremendous reverses in military and administrative systems. In October, 14, 1808 he established a new military organisation called Sekban-i Cedid (New Soldiers), but, the Yeniceris started a riot and protested this new organisation as their privileges were retrenching. The Sultan had abolished the Sekban-i Cedid.
The Sultan had established another military force called Eskinci, but the Yeniceris had revolted again, and, the Sultan had abolished the Yeniceris in June 15, 1826 and established completely new military force called Asakir-i Mansure-i Muhammediye(Restored form of the Yeniceris) this event is called as the Vaka-i Hayriye (The Blessing Event).
Sultan Mahmoud was believing that the governors and the administrators around the country should support the reforms and Grand Vizier Mustafa Pasha signed an agreement with all the officers, this agreement was called Sened-i Ittifak (Proof of Agreement). According to Sened-i Ittifak, the rights of the governors legalised by the Sultan, but all the governors had accepted Sultan�s supremacy and authority and they promised to apply all the reforms in their regions. However, it was impossible for the Sultan to share his authority with other administrators. After a while the Sultan had taken back the administrators privileges back and tried to rule the country from the centre.
Sultan Mahmoud II was aware of the fact that, military reforms were not enough to save the Empire, he abolished the Divan and established the ministries. In March 30, 1836 he modified the term Grand Vizier to �Prime Minister�.
He made many social reforms too. He issued a firman in March 3 1829, about clothing, pantaloons and frockcoats were substituted and the �fez� took place of the turbans. The first newspaper was pressed in November 1, 1839 and called Takvim-i Vekayi (Calendar of Events). New schools and universities were established instead of the old fashioned medreses (Ottoman Schools). Many students were sent to Europe for education.
The first postal service was established. In order to help the Turkish merchants and support their rivalry with the Europeans, duty taxes were decreased. First, census was made, and according to this census it is known that there were 2.500.000 male subjects in Anatolia and 1.500.000 male subject in Roumelia.
New regulations about travelling were applied. For domestic travels people had to take �travel permission�, the one�s travelling abroad should had have passports.
Architecture received special attention from Sultan Mahmoud II. He erected spacious barracks and arsenals beyond the limits of the capital, numerous mosques in the city, and many residences for himself on the shores of Bosphorus. Some of them are; Suleymaniye Mosque in Rhodes, Bıyıkoglu Mahmud Mosque in Izmir, Cevri Kalfa School (Cevri Kalfa saved the Sultan�s life once, therefore his name was given to this school), Nusretiye Mosque, Istanbul KocaMustafa Pasha Mosque, Stone Barracks.
Sultan Mahmud also had had all the grand mosques repaired and restored. He was a poet and composer, he also was a brilliant calligrapher.